Adios headphone jack

If rumors are to be believed, the next iPhone will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. I have mixed feeling about that. While I understand (and agree with) the need to have less cables in our lives, this will be the single most disruptive change to the iPhone since it’s arrival. There’s no doubt that a lot more smartphones and devices will follow suit once Apple decide to remove it.

The 3.5mm jack has been around for a long time 1. Almost every piece of technology that I own uses it, including my car! How Apple approaches this is important.

Presumably they will have some sort of adapter for the lightning port to allow 3.5mm jacks to be used. This should be included in the box with new phones, although that seems unlikely based on Apples track record in making a lot of money on overpriced accessories.

Another question is what kind of headphones will be included with the new phones. Earpods are unlikely to be discontinued for some time, but they won’t work with the new iPhone if the jack is removed. Will Apple include bluetooth Earpods? Again, seems unlikely. But it would be bad for Apple to not include any earphones. That would be the first time they wouldn’t be included in the box since the original phone.

Bluetooth earphones/headphones have their own issues. They are generally more flimsy, more expensive and have to be charged or run on batteries. Who wants another battery to have to worry about? Is that not just creating a new problem that removing the jack was solving?

There doesn’t seem to be a way to make this transition pain free, but lets hope it is at least handled well. Best case scenario in my opinion? - include the adapter for free and let us make the transition at our own pace.

  1. The origins of the jack can be traced back as far as 1878! This article explains its origins and how it became so prominent in technology over the following centuries. This isn’t like changing from the 30-pin dock connector to the lightning port - it’s a much bigger change, particularly for people who take their audio seriously.